Bragi offered a hopeful glimpse into a smarter hearable future with the Bragi Dash last year, and now it's giving the device an overhaul for 2017 in the shape of the Dash Pro.
Not only that, but it will be offering the new hearable in a custom-fitted option built by hearing aid manufacturer Starkey, making it the first personalized hearable on the market.
The verdict: Bragi Dash Pro review
The Dash Pro takes everything we loved about last year's Dash and upgrades it with new features including real-time translation, a '4D menu' that lets you use gestures to navigate an invisible interface, and automatic activity tracking. The 4GB of internal storage remains the same but Bragi has also pushed the battery life up from three hours to five, while it also promises better sound quality.
The real-time translation, one of the the Dash Pro's most impressive features, runs through the iTranslate Pro app, which you'll need to download onto your smartphone and pay the monthly subscription fee for (users will get a one-month free trial).
You can use this feature in two different ways. The first works by holding out your phone in front of you and having it translate the other person's words to your ear, and vice versa through your Bragi mic and out the smartphone speaker. The second is called Air Translate and works when you're both wearing Dash Pro earbuds by translating between them without you needing to pull your smartphone out.
It supports 40 different languages, and Bragi is particularly thinking about how this could be useful in the workplace. The main downside right now is that this is only for iOS users, with Android to follow down the road.
Another promising new feature is the automatic activity tracking. The original Dash would track our workouts but it required manually starting it. Bragi has now added an algorithm that learns how you move over time and gets better at detecting when you've started a run, a swim or a bike ride.
Meanwhile the 4D menu will let you control an invisible menu using head gestures or a tap of the cheek, guided by feedback sounds, to open features or Siri/Google Assistant. And the good news for existing Bragi Dash owners is that the new software features, including translation, are coming to old devices through an update to the new BOS3 software.
The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey will be offered exclusively at around 5,000 audiologists in the US and Canada. You'll go in, get an impression of your ear canal done and then Starkey and Bragi will craft a Dash Pro specifically designed for your ear. They'll also come with HearClear WaxGuards, which will enable minimal cleaning and long-term wear. Oh, you'll also get the craftman's signature on your packaging and laser engraving personalized to you on the device.
This won't just make for a better fit, but it should also improve the accuracy of the activity tracking, particularly the heart rate sensor, Bragi CEO Nikolaj Hviid told us. Bragi has also worked to simplify the Bluetooth pairing process, one of the mortal enemies of hearables in general. And while the Dash Pro still doesn't have a virtual assistant of its own, Nikolaj told us that Bragi plans to add support for assistants like Alexa in the future.
The Dash Pro costs $329 and is available from Bragi's site now. It's also rolling out to major retailers in the coming weeks, while the Dash Pro tailored by Starkey will be available at participating audiologists for $499.
How we test